Biologist Sara Lewis has spent the past 20 years getting to the bottom of the magic and wonder of fireflies. In this charming talk, she tells us how and why the beetles produce their silent sparks, what happens when two fireflies have sex, and why one group of females is known as the firefly vampire. (It's not pretty.) Find out more astonishing facts about fireflies in Lewis' footnotes, below. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, biology, evolution, insects, TED2014, 2014
Ecologist Deborah Gordon studies ants wherever she can find them -- in the desert, in the tropics, in her kitchen ... In this fascinating talk, she explains her obsession with insects most of us would happily swat away without a second thought. She argues that ant life provides a useful model for learning about many other topics, including disease, technology and the human brain. Topics: TedTalks, TED, Talks, insects, nature, science, TED2014, 2014
An insect's ability to fly is perhaps one of the greatest feats of evolution. Michael Dickinson looks at how a common housefly takes flight with such delicate wings, thanks to a clever flapping motion and flight muscles that are both powerful and nimble. But the secret ingredient: the incredible fly brain. (Filmed at TEDxCaltech.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biology, insects, science, TEDxCaltech, 2013
Just like us, the monarch butterfly sometimes gets sick thanks to a nasty parasite. But biologist Jaap de Roode noticed something interesting about the butterflies he was studying — infected female butterflies would choose to lay their eggs on a specific kind of plant that helped their offspring avoid getting sick. How do they know to choose this plant? Think of it as “the other butterfly effect” — which could teach us to find new medicines for the treatment of human disease. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, biology, insects, science, TEDYouth 2014, 2014
A dung beetle has a brain the size of a grain of rice, and yet shows a tremendous amount of intelligence when it comes to rolling its food source -- animal excrement -- home. How? It all comes down to a dance. (Filmed at TEDxWitsUniversity.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, animals, insects, science, TEDxWitsUniversity, 2012
Modern psychiatric drugs treat the chemistry of the whole brain, but neurobiologist David Anderson believes in a more nuanced view of how the brain functions. He illuminates new research that could lead to targeted psychiatric medications -- that work better and avoid side effects. How's he doing it? For a start, by making a bunch of fruit flies angry. (Filmed at TEDxCaltech.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, brain, insects, neuroscience, TEDxCaltech, 2013
Honeybees have thrived for 50 million years, each colony 40 to 50,000 individuals coordinated in amazing harmony. So why, seven years ago, did colonies start dying en masse? Marla Spivak reveals four reasons which are interacting with tragic consequences. This is not simply a problem because bees pollinate a third of the world’s crops. Could this incredible species be holding up a mirror for Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, bee, food, insects, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
We’ve known how to cure malaria since the 1600s, so why does the disease still kill hundreds of thousands every year? It’s more than just a problem of medicine, says journalist Sonia Shah. A look into the history of malaria reveals three big-picture challenges to its eradication. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, disease, global issues, history, insects, TEDGlobal 2013, 2013
Bees have been rapidly and mysteriously disappearing from rural areas, with grave implications for agriculture. But bees seem to flourish in urban environments -- and cities need their help, too. Noah Wilson-Rich, founder of Boston's Best Bees Company, argues that urban beekeeping just might play a role in revitalizing both a city and a species. (Filmed at TEDxBoston.) Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, animals, cities, global issues, insects, science, TEDxBoston 2012, 2012
Nathan Myhrvold and team's latest inventions -- as brilliant as they are bold -- remind us that the world needs wild creativity to tackle big problems like malaria. And just as that idea sinks in, he rolls out a live demo of a new, mosquito-zapping gizmo you have to see to believe. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, creativity, disease, innovation, insects, invention, poverty, technology,...
While living and working as a marine biologist in Maldives, Charles Anderson noticed sudden explosions of dragonflies at certain times of year. He explains how he carefully tracked the path of a plain, little dragonfly called the globe skimmer, only to discover that it had the longest migratory journey of any insect in the world. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, biodiversity, biology, biosphere, birds, insects, science, TEDIndia 2009, 2009
We can use a mosquito's own instincts against her. At TEDxMaastricht speaker Bart Knols demos the imaginative solutions his team is developing to fight malaria -- including limburger cheese and a deadly pi Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, TEDxFeatured, global issues, health, insects, medicine, tedx, TEDxMaastricht,...
Bees are dying in droves. Why? Leading apiarist Dennis vanEngelsdorp looks at the gentle, misunderstood creature's important place in nature and the mystery behind its alarming disappearance. Topics: TEDTalks, Taste3 2008, TED, Talks, animals, disease, food, insects, life, nature, 2008
At TEDxTelAviv, Shimon Steinberg looks at the difference between pests and bugs -- and makes the case for using good bugs to fight bad bugs, avoiding chemicals in our quest for perfect produce. Topics: TEDTalks, TEDxTelAviv 2010, TED, Talks, agriculture, green, insects, nature, technology, 2010
What do science and play have in common? Neuroscientist Beau Lotto thinks all people (kids included) should participate in science and, through the process of discovery, change perceptions. He's seconded by 12-year-old Amy O'Toole, who, along with 25 of her classmates, published the first peer-reviewed article by schoolchildren, about the Blackawton bees project. It starts: "Once upon a time ... " Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, bees, biology, children, collaboration, insects, science, youth, TEDGlobal...
In a single year, there are 200-300 million cases of malaria and 50-100 million cases of dengue fever worldwide. So: Why haven’t we found a way to effectively kill mosquitos yet? Hadyn Parry presents a fascinating solution: genetically engineering male mosquitos to make them sterile, and releasing the insects into the wild, to cut down on disease-carrying species. Topics: Tedtalks, TED, Talks, animals, biotech, disease, global issues, insects, pandemic, science,...
Marcel Dicke makes an appetizing case for adding insects to everyone's diet. His message to squeamish chefs and foodies: delicacies like locusts and caterpillars compete with meat in flavor, nutrition and eco-friendliness. Topics: TEDTalks, TED, Talks, agriculture, environment, food, health, insects, TEDGlobal 2010, 2010